The Monument

Commemorating the Great Fire of London at the Monument.

The Monument

You may have noticed I haven’t been consistent with my blogging this summer. My Mom broke her hip and I’ve been going to my hometown to visit her a lot lately, so I haven’t been in the studio much. Therefore, no artifact photography. Therefore no blogs. To break this trend, I thought I’d commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London with a quick blog on The Monument.

On September 1, 1666, a fire broke out at a bakery on Pudding Lane in central London and burned for 4 days before burning itself out near what is now Sommerset House. The fire left thousands homeless, and demolished hundreds of houses and businesses.

The Monument
The Monument

Plans were drawn up for a new city with grand boulevards like Paris, but in the end, the original medieval city plan was used. It would have been very expensive to compensate land owners for the properties needed. The rebuilt city required fireproof stone construction, and many of these original buildings can still be seen today. The most famous of these is the current St. Paul’s Cathedral.

To commemorate the fire, the Monument was erected in 1677. It’s located at the junction of Monument Street and  Fish Street Hill, 61 meters from where the Great Fire of London ignited.  It’s height of 202 feet is the exact distance from the base of the tower to the original bakery on Pudding Lane, in feet.

The stairs spiral up 311 steps
The stairs spiral up 311 steps

The structure is open daily and one can climb 311 steps to a platform on top where a good panorama of the city can be observed, despite the number of skyscrapers that have arisen since it was built.

The tower underwent an 18 month restoration in 2007/2008, which included the replacement of the observation deck cage.

Chicken wire on The Monument
Chicken wire on The Monument

Unfortunately, beautiful new railings are topped with rather ugly chicken wire to keep the pigeons out and the suicides in.

This results in being able to see fine panoramic views, but no ability to make a decent panoramic photograph.

Weathervane
Shipshape Weathervane

However, if you use a telephoto lens and keep it within the open squares of the chicken wire, you can get pretty nice detail shots. There are many beautiful weather vanes and clocks to be seen.

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

It has one of the better elevated views of Tower Bridge.

Inside the Monument, it is difficult to take photographs without multiple flash units, and who takes those on vacation?

The author
The author

There are periodic rest stops at large windows built to let in light and air, and these make good places to take photographs recording your accomplishment. Due to the traffic of over 100,000 visitors per year climbing to the top, there is no room or time to set up tripods or flashes, so on-camera flash was used in these photographs.

This blog is supposed to be published every Monday at 9:00 am, Eastern Standard Time. If you have comments, questions, or can think of a better approach, feel free to leave a comment. I’ll try to get back to you with a pithy answer.

Feel free to explore the rest of the Artifact Photography (a division of 1350286 Ontario Inc.) website at www.artifactphoto.ca

Author: Pete Cramp

I’ve been crazy about photography since I got my first camera in 1970 (I was eight), and went to Niagara College for radio/television/film production. My career took a strange detour into Information Technology, where I coordinate IT disaster recovery plans, but I’ve taken 2016 off to establish my photography business, in preparation for retirement. My passion is documentation of historical artifacts and antiques, shooting anything from pocket watches to antique tractors. Through my company, “Artifact Photography” I offer photographic services to collectors, museums, and small businesses.